740 Park Avenue New York is a luxury cooperative apartment building on Park Avenue between East 71st and 72nd Streets in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, which was described in Business Insider in 2011 as “a legendary address” that was “at one time considered (and still thought to be by some) the most luxurious and powerful residential building in New York City”.The “pre-war” building’s side entrance address is 71 East 71st Street.
The 17-story building was designed in an Art Deco architectural style and consists of 31 units, including duplexes and triplexes. The architectural height of the building is 78.03 metres (256.0 ft).
The building was constructed in 1929 by James T. Lee, the grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Onassis lived there as a child – and was designed by Rosario Candela and Arthur Loomis Harmon; Harmon became a partner of the newly named Shreve, Lamb and Harmon during the year of construction. The building was officially opened in October 1930, but it was not until the 1980s that the building’s apartments sold for incredibly high prices.Hedge fund manager David Ganek paid $19 million for the childhood duplex home of Jackie O. in 2005.In 1937 one of the first well known residents was John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who moved into a triplex that many still consider New York’s crown jewel apartment.In 1971 Saul Steinberg bought that apartment for $285,000 and after two divorces sold to Stephen Schwarzman for “slightly above or below $30 million”. As of 2000, this was reportedly the highest price ever paid on Park Avenue.
In 2005, author Michael Gross published a detailed book on the building and its history, 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building. According to Gross, builder Lee’s daughter, Janet Lee Bouvier, and son-in-law Jack Bouvier, attained the final open lease; according to one account, they did not pay for the lease.Hedge fund billionaire Charles Stevenson paid $9 million for an apartment in the building and was the head of the 740 Park Avenue cooperative in December 2011.In 2012 the Alex Gibney documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream was promoted on the “Independent Lens” series of the PBS TV network. In the film, Gibney asserts that America’s richest citizens have “rigged the game in their favor”, with evidence of such a situation most evident on Park Avenue. At the time of the film’s release, the highest concentration of billionaires in the U.S. resided in the building.In 1979, the French government purchased an 18-room duplex for $600,000 to be used as their United Nations ambassador’s residence. The French government’s duplex unit was sold in mid-2014 for $70 million, reportedly $22 million over the asking price – a bidding war involving three prospective buyers escalated the eventual selling price. The buyer is reported as hedge fund billionaire Israel Englander, who lives on the floor above the unit. As of 3 September 2014, the sale was registered on the public record for a co-op-record-setting $71,277,500, topping the $70 million paid by Egypt’s richest man, Nassef Sawiris, for a Fifth Avenue penthouse in June 2014 but has since been broken.
740 Park was once home to one of the world’s largest private collections of Mark Rothko works.The former owner — alleged Bernie Madoff middleman and ex-financier J. Ezra Merkin — still lives there, but the paintings were sold during the scandal.